Alumni Fellow

Dr Deepshikha Shahi

Fellows Unit 3

Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research
Schifferstraße 44
47059 Duisburg

Tel:  +49 (0)203 379-5230
Fax: +49 (0)203 379-5276
E-mail: shahi@spam


Dr Shahi joined Käte Hamburger Kolleg / Centre for Global Cooperation Research as a Postdoc Fellow. She  conducted her research in Research Unit 3 'Global Governance Revisited' from April 2017 to January 2018.

Research Project at the Centre

Indian Philosophical Contribution to Post-Western International Relations Theory: Introducing Advaita as an Alternative Epistemological Resource

As India has acquired the image of a rising power in the evolving world order, the need to produce a knowledge-base to sustain this image has become paramount. While the Indian strategists aspire to carve an enlarged space for rising India that would further enhance its capability to conduct political manoeuvres, Indian scholars of International Relations (IR) are increasingly viewing this ambitious turn in India’s strategic thinking as a moment of opportunity for integrating Indian IR with Global IR. However, the theoretical ventures made by Indian IR scholars so far have been labelled as ‘sub-systemic’ (not systemic) theories, as they essentially apply the already-developed Western theoretical constructs to habitually comprehend the regional context of South Asia. In fact, most of the Indian IR scholars express scepticism toward formulating an Indian IR theory or institutionalizing an Indian school of IR as they essentially view such an intellectual exercise as a work of nativism, methodological nationalism, ethnocentrism, or essentialism. Against this Indian scholarly scepticism, the present research project aims to awaken the ancient Indian philosophy of ‘Advaita’ as an untapped epistemological resource for theorising post-Western IR and developing an alternative understanding of contemporary world politics.

The philosophy of Advaita (literally meaning non-dual or non-secondness) presupposes a ‘monist’ epistemology which, unlike the conventional dualist Western epistemologies based on subject-object distinction, ties the perceiver (subject) and the perceived (object) together with a globe marked with single hidden connectedness’ or Brahman. This research project aims at establishing ‘Advaitic monism’, wherein the perpetually connected globe has no separate existence apart from Brahman, as an alternative epistemological-methodological tool to craft post-Western IR theory and an innovative philosophical lens to visualize the complexities of contemporary world politics. In order to do that, the proposed research demonstrates how the Western/Eurocentric theories of IR remain marked by an unimpeded ratification of the dualist Kantian exposition of ‘temporality’ and ‘spatiality’. The offhand endorsement of this dualist Kantian exposition in IR theory – wherein temporality and spatiality essentially occur as an ontological result of the human mind’s need to make intuition explicit – leads to the generation of a dichotomized debate on ‘time’ and ‘space’: while time is presumed to possess either ‘cyclical’ or ‘linear’ character, the discussions on space oscillate between ‘spatial fetishism’ (space as material) and ‘spatial exorcism’ (space as discourse). Against this customary dualist Kantian epistemology of Eurocentric IR, this research project sets out to incorporate the alternative Indian monist considerations of time and space in IR theory. The proposed research attempts to investigate the varied connotations of time (kála) and space (akása) in the Indian philosophy of Advaitic monism. While the dualist Kantian approaches proclaim the ‘subjectivity’ of time and space in IR, the philosophy of Advaitic monism pronounces ‘objectivity’ of time and space. This research project examines how the transcendence of time and space from ‘subjective’ to ‘objective’ realm in Advaitic monism enables a re-configuration of the Eurocentric boundaries of IR theory and a re-imagination of the geo-historical realities of world politics.

Research Interests

  • International Relations (IR)
  • Theory of IR
  • Political Science
  • Indian Government and Politics
  • Philosophy
  • Religion and Culture
  • Metaphysics

Current Projects

  • Indian Philosophical Contribution to Post-Western International Relations Theory
  • China-India Comparative International Thought Project, Shandong University, Qingdao: China


Since 05/2009 University of Delhi, India
Janki Devi Memorial College
Assistant Professor
11/2013-05/2016 University of Delhi
Department of Political Science
Guest Lecturer
11/2011-12/2013 International Democracy Watch, Turin, Italy
Research Affiliate
10/2011-09/2014 Transnational Institute, Amsterdam, Netherlands
Research Affiliate
02/2011-04/2012 Torino World Affairs Institute (T.Wai), and Institute of International Affairs (IAI), Turin and Rome respectively
Research Affiliate
07/2013-07/2014 Society of Afghan Women in Engineering and Construction (SAWEC) which runs the NGO "Z Plus", Kabul, Afghanistan
Technical Proposal Writer
01/2013-07/2013 Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, in collaboration with the Ministry of Human Resource Development, Government of India
School of International Studies (SIS)
Content Writer


Shahi, Deepshikha (2017): Understanding Post-9/11 Afghanistan: A Critical Insight into Huntington’s Civilizational Approach, Bristol: E-International Relations Publishing.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2016): 'Engaging with the Post-Secular Moment in Post-9/11 Afghanistan: The Search for a 'Humanist' Political Discourse', Cambridge Review of International Affairs 29 (2): 718–39.

Shahi, Deepshikha, and Ascione, Gennaro (2015): 'Rethinking the Absence of Post-Western IR Theory in India: 'Advaitic Monism' as an Alternative Epistemological Resource', European Journal of International Relations 22 (2).

Shahi, Deepshikha (2014): 'Arthasastra Beyond Realpolitik: The 'Eclectic' Face of Kautilya', Economic and Political Weekly. The same piece was republished in P.K. Gautam, Saurabh Mishra and Arvind Gupta (eds.), Indigenous Historical Knowledge: Kautilya and His Vocabulary Volume I, Pentagon Press.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2014): 'South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation', in Finizio, Giovanni (eds.), The Democratization of International Institutions, Routledge.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2014): 'India in the Emerging World Order: A Status-quo Power or a Revisionist Force?', in Nick Buxton and Nicola Bullard (eds.), Shifting Power, Amsterdam: Transnational Institute.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2014): Book Review of Alice Lyman Miller and Richard Wich, 2011, Becoming Asia: Change and Continuity in Asian International Relations Since World War II, Stanford University Press, in Economic and Political Weekly.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2013): 'Indian Scholarship on International Relations and Multilateralism', Economic and Political Weekly.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2013): '1857 aur Aadhunik Bhartiya Rashtra Rajya ka Nirman'; 'Motilal Nehru Committee Report: Ek Rashtravadi Dharohar', in Himanshu Roy (ed.), Bharat Mein Upniveshvad aur Rashtravad, Hindi Directorate, Delhi University (in Hindi).

Shahi, Deepshikha (2012): India's Foreign Policy and Regional Hegemony in South Asia (La politica estera e l'egemonia regionale dell'india in asia meridionale), IndiaIndie Series, T.Wai (in Italian).

Shahi, Deepshikha (2011): 'Regionalism and Regional Cooperation: A Comparative Study of SAARC and EU', in Saifuddin Soz, R.N. Srivastava and Sanju Gupta (eds.), SAARC: Building Bridges in the South Asian Region, Foundation for Peace and Sustainable Development, endorsed by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India.

Shahi, Deepshikha (2011): 'Elections in India: Politics and Voting Behaviour (Bharat mein Nirvaachan: Rajniti aur Matdaan Vyavhaar)', in B.N. Chowdhary (ed.), Bharat mein Shaasan aur Rajniti, Orient Blackswan (in Hindi).

Teaching Responsibilities

  • Assistant Professor, Janki Devi Memorial College, University of Delhi (since 05/2009)
  • Guest Lecturer, Department of Political Science, University of Delhi (11/2013–05/2016)

Expertise and Consulting Work

  • Member of the expert committee on Arthashastra at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, India.
  • Supervisor and examiner of M. Phil dissertations of students from University of Delhi and Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, India
  • Peer reviewer of articles and monographs for various national and international journals/publishing houses including Taylor and Francis, Routledge, UK.

Seminars and Conferences

  • 'Advaita as the Alternative Epistemological Resource for Post-Western IR Theorisation', South Asian University, New Delhi, India, 14 January 2016.
  • 'Advaita and the Scientific Foundations of International Relations Theory: A Geohistorical Perspective', India International Centre, New Delhi, 11–12 January 2016.
  • 'Arthashastra Beyond Realpolitik: The 'Eclectic' Face of Kautilya', Goethe University, Frankfurt, Germany, 6–9 August 2014. The first draft of this paper was presented at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, 9 April 2013.
  • 'Liberation Theology as an 'Ethical' Intellectual Discourse': Engaging with the Post-secular Moment in Post-9/11 Afghanistan', University of Warwick, UK, 17 July 2013. A modified draft of this paper was presented at the Annual International Studies Convention 2013, JNU, New Delhi, 10 December 2013.
  • 'Theorising and Practising Multilateralism in 'Rising' India: A Turning Point in Indian Scholarship on IR?', First Annual convention of the Institute for Research on India and International Studies (IRIIS) in collaboration with the Ministry of External Affairs, India International Centre, New Delhi, 10–12 December 2012.
  • 'Multilateralism in the Emerging World Order and the EU Model: An Indian Perspective', University of Turin, Italy, 2010.
  • 'The Contested Histories of 1857 and the (Re) Making of the Indian Nation-State', Jiwaji University, Gwalior, India, 5 September 2010.
  • 'The Clash of Civilizations Thesis: A Critical Appraisal', Developing Countries Research Centre (DCRC), University of Delhi, India, 22 October 2009.
  • 'The Ethics of India's Nuclear Strategy and Gandhism' at Gandhi Bhavan, University of Delhi, 2 October 2009.


  • International Studies Association (ISA)
  • Researchers' team at International Democracy Watch, a combined initiative of University of Milan, University of Pavia and University of Turin, Italy
  • Researchers' team at Transnational Institute (TNI), Amsterdam, Netherlands
  • Researchers' team at Torino World Affairs Institute (T.Wai.), Turin, Italy
  • Researchers' committee at the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA), New Delhi, India
  • Course-development committee at School of Open Learning, University of Delhi, India
  • Course-development Committee at School of Gender and Development Studies, Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU), New Delhi, India


  • Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR) Award for '4th Global International Studies Conference', University of Frankfurt, Germany, 2014.
  • Awarded grant for the workshop 'Contesting Claims for Expertise in a Post-Secular Age: In Search of Intellectual Life', Institute for Advanced Studies, University of Warwick, UK, 2013.
  • Torino World Affairs Institute (T.Wai.) Award for the project 'Multilateralism in the Global Age and the Emerging Actors in International Relations', University of Turin, Italy, 2010.

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